So today we will highlight our House filter coffee the quite fantastic Colombian Timana! For those that have tried it in Urban the Timana also makes for a fantastic espresso. This is what our friends at Union Hand Roasted have to say about it…
The quality of coffee from Colombia has suffered badly in recent years, but changes late in 1990’s to the country’s national structure allowed small producer co-operatives to emerge from underneath the national coffee Federation’s wings and offer their exceptional coffee on a direct trade basis. It is from such origins that the farmers at Timaná, near Cacica, formed their co-operative.
In August 2001, 36 coffee farmers and their families at Timana from the Huila district believed their possible options to survive the coffee crisis that was depressing world prices at that time was to create a cooperative and seek to improve the quality of their coffee. They hoped this would open doors to new opportunities in the market and a better future.
The outcome has been an undoubted success. Timana was one of our first Direct Contact Trade relationships back in 2003 and we’ve been buying from them every year since. Today, the co-operative – Asociation de Productores Agricoles de Timaná – has expanded to 75families and continues to work on its founding principles of economic, social and environmental sustainability and, fundamentally, absolute quality-led production.
In 2009 2010, Colombia harvest had many problems. It was the lowest in 33 years falling by 30%. We’d been aware that farmers were eager to capture the rising market price and sell their coffee before it was fully processed without completion of the sun-drying. Selling wet parchment causes quality to suffer. Furthermore, the high level of rainfall earlier in the season and the then almost lack of rain, increased pest problems all contributed to low yield. This was compounded by the weakness of the local currency and increase in fertilizer costs. A perfect storm. But it’s a test of the relationship that we managed to navigate this treacherous path to select the coffees we wanted and bring them home.
Further to this we pay a premium for their Timaná Coffee, which is an incentive to maintain and improve coffee quality. The farmers work with a trained agronomist to focus on the best growing and processing methods. Our premium provides the families with a better quality of life and is used to fund local schools and hospitals.
Timana continue to give high priority towards protecting their natural habitat and introducing sustainable processing techniques. Up to 80% of the coffee trees are “shade grown” – creating a sound, forest like habitat for migratory birds and other animals, while also preventing soil erosion and improves water conservation. During the time we’ve been working with Timana they have achieved certification for Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance, plus won Great Taste awards for two years running.